Durban - While the Sharks are without the services of Patrick Lambie and Craig Burden for this week’s Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Kings Park, another Springbok, Keegan Daniel, has been included after his exclusion from the national squad.
Daniel returns at No 8 in one of two changes made by coach John Plumtree on Thursday, with Meyer Bosman also making a return at centre, after recovering from injury, ahead of Marius Joubert.
The Sharks were hopeful of fielding Bok utility back Lambie due to his limited game time with South Africa in their first two Rugby Championship matches.
Lambie was named in the match day 22 for both clashes against Argentina but he was not utilised.
Hooker Burden received his first Bok call-up when he replaced Bismarck du Plessis, but he was the third-choice player in his position in the touring squad that travelled to South America last week.
However, the return of regular captain Daniel, who will play under new skipper Jean Deysel, represents a significant boost ahead of the Cheetahs clash.
Daniel comes in for Francois Kleinhans and adds experience to a forward pack that has sacrificed several forwards to the Boks.
He was omitted by national coach Heyneke Meyer from a 28-man squad named on Wednesday.
There is also one new face among the replacements, with former Bath and Western Province hooker Pieter Dixon selected on the bench a day after signing a short-term deal with the Sharks.
“Both sides have suffered player losses, through injury and Springbok call-ups, but we know what the Currie Cup is all about," Plumtree said.
"It’s a test of depth and it should be a really good game.
“I don’t think there is a lot between the two teams. It will come down to the side that wants it more on the weekend.”
15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Substitutes: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Rosko Specman.
Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller 14 Nico Scheepers 13 Robert Ebersohn (Captain) 12 Barry Geel 11 Raymond Rhule 10 Sias Ebersohn 9 Sarel Pretorius 8 Kabamba Floors 7 Pieter "Lappies" Labuschagne 6 Frans Viljoen 5 Izak van der Westhuizen 4 Andries Ferreira 3 Marcel Van Der Merwe 2 Hercu Liebenberg 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett 17 Ross Geldenhuys 18 Waltie Vermeulen 19 Davon Raubenheimer 20 Tewis de Bruyn 21 Philip Snyman 22 Rayno Benjamin